The other day I was in an elevator with a woman who was eating an ice-cream cone. A grown woman, going to town on an ice cream cone on one of the coldest days of the year. What a weirdo, I thought. Doesn’t she know that ice-cream, is only for the summer?
Does she know something that I don’t?
Then I started to think about it a little more.
There are flavours and tastes that we associate with certain seasons. The summer is all about fresh fruit flavours like lemon sorbets and strawberry ice-cream, and in the winter we are predisposed towards flavours that we associate only with that time of the year, so much so that we often don’t have a hankering for them in the summer months. There are foods and flavours that are treats of the season. Sure, we could have eggnog and mincemeat in the summer if we wanted to. We could also prance around the neighbourhood singing Rudolph the Red-nosed reindeer.
Ice cream that bursts with the flavours of Christmas is the best of both worlds. Three flavours that would make an amazing ice cream immediately come to mind; eggnog, cranberry, and mincemeat. A Christmas without these three kings seems incomplete to me. But serving a scoop of eggnog ice cream on top of a plate of plum pudding, or a scoop of bright pink cranberry ice cream with a couple of pretty sugar cookies (or even pressed between them for a holiday ice cream sandwich), or warm gingerbread with mincemeat ice-cream melting into it, or a mincemeat ice cream cake…they all sound irresistible.
The recipes we are looking at today require an ice cream maker. There are lots of recipes that don’t use an ice-cream maker, and I have tried some of them, and they are good. But this summer my husband came home with a used Krups ice cream maker that he bought for five bucks. I always thought these were for “the person who has everything” or only for crazed foodies, and I thought they were really expensive. I was wrong on all counts. They are inexpensive -even new- they are totally fun and easy to use, and, most importantly, the ice cream that you make is amazing.
You control the ingredients, you can make it as rich or light as you like depending on the milk/cream that you use, you could make it with goat’s milk, cream or skim milk, you can adjust the sweetness to your tastes and you can experiment with an infinite variety of flavour combinations. No weird ingredients, like “modified milk ingredients” and so forth. And guess what. It’s cheaper to make, using the best, freshest ingredients you can get your hands on, than your favourite gourmet brand. Sure it takes a little time to make, but it’s only work if you’re paid to do it. Making your own ice cream is play. And eating it is pleasure.
Here is a few lovely recipe for mincemeat ice cream, an incredibly easy recipe for eggnog ice cream and a sublime cranberry/white chocolate ice cream you will want to try over the holidays. You could even wait until after the holidays when all the mincemeat and eggnog goes on sale, then whip it into ice cream and stock your freezer for the rest of the winter!